During this month of July, as we celebrate the freedom given to us in our great nation, it is well to reflect that the month of July is dedicated to the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. It is through the Precious Blood of the Lord that we are given true freedom - the freedom from the enslavement to sin. When we do not choose the good and deliberately seek only what we want, we act in a selfish manner which is sinful. Sin imprisons us by locking us inside of ourselves. The devil deludes us into sinful choices by making them look good. However, experience shows that sin only causes unhappiness. It is Jesus Christ who has brought us true freedom by shedding His blood to conquer the evil of sin which destroys true freedom. Christ's freedom is the one that is always new. The Blood of Christ has brought the possibility of true liberty, the kind of liberty upon which our nation was founded. The ability to possess the willfulness that seeks good only for itself is the spiritual freedom of Christ. Christ’s freedom enables us to embrace the personal responsibility to sacrifice ourselves for the common good. This true understanding of freedom is so much needed in our nation at this troubled time.
The references to the Blood of Christ in the New Testament always speaks of its power to set us free. The Blood of Christ redeems us, ransoms us and saves us. It does so because it is poured out for the forgiveness of sins. The letter of St. Peter tells us, "You were set free by Christ's Precious Blood, blood like that of a lamb without mark or blemish" (1Pt 1:19); or in the words of the Book of Revelation, "To Him who loves and has freed us from our sins by His Blood, who has made us into a kingdom, priests for His God and Father, to Him be glory and power forever" (Rev 1:5-6).
Saint Pope John XXIII gave us an Apostolic Letter, Inde a Primis (June 30, 1960), in which he explained the meaning of devotion to the Precious Blood and strongly encouraged its practice. He affirmed how this devotion was part of his own family and how reciting the Litany of the Most Precious Blood during the month of July was a fond part of his childhood memories. The Pope stressed that the Precious Blood is a "marvelous manifestation of Divine Mercy" and devotion to it helps us to know the warmth of God's mercy in our lives.
Indeed, during this month of July we give thanks to God for the freedom that we possess in this country. We also give thanks to God for the freedom we have from the enslavement to sin, the ultimate destroyer of liberty, won for us through the Precious Blood of Christ. It is Christ alone who truly makes us free. The Blood of Christ knows no boundaries in regard to all men and women created in God's image and likeness. It is poured forth for all that we might be set free and know the fullness of the meaning of life. It is only this freedom which is the foundation for a happy life as well as the foundation for a true and just society.
May the Precious Blood of Christ be the font of our life from which we will always know the meaning of true freedom upon which our nation was founded.
Most Reverend Gerald M. Barbarito
July 17, 2020